Regional Connector final environmental study scheduled to be considered by Metro Board on Thursday

Metro’s Regional Connector planning staff just sent this email to interested parties:

Regional Connector on Metro Board of Director’s Agenda

The Regional Connector Transit Corridor Study Final EIS/EIR is included as Item #56 on the Metro Board of Director’s March 22, 2012 agenda.  This meeting is scheduled to begin Thursday morning at 9 a.m. at Metro Headquarters. Please follow the link to view the meeting agenda.

Recently, Metro has been invited to meet with representatives from the Financial District and Japanese Village Plaza to evaluate construction methodologies that address stakeholder concerns. This is an important step by the project team to evaluate optimum methods to mitigate impacts specified in the environmental document.

We will advise you if we are notified of any changes to the agenda.

Thank you for your continued interest in Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project.

The Regional Connector Team

I-5 South Corridor braces for second wave of congestion-busting improvements

Officials break ground March 19 to launch the I-5 HOV Widening and Alondra Boulevard Bridge Project, the second of six segments of the I-5 South Corrdior Improvement Projects.

Officials break ground March 19 to launch the I-5 HOV Widening and Alondra Boulevard Bridge Project, the second of six segments of the I-5 South Corrdior Improvement Projects.

Caltrans and Metro announced Monday that construction will begin on the I-5 Widening and Alondra Boulevard Bridge Project, the second segment of the I-5 South Corridor Improvement Project that runs from the Los Angeles/Orange County Line to the I-605. Last fall, Caltrans began the first of six I-5 corridor improvement projects totaling more than $1 billion; some of the funding is coming from Measure R.

The $110-million Alondra Boulevard Bridge project will add one carpool lane and one general purpose lane in each direction from North Fork Coyote Creek to Marquardt Avenue, a distance of nearly a mile. The project also includes reconstructing two bridges at Alondra and North Fork Coyote Creek to accommodate a wider freeway, redesigned ramp structures and realigning Firestone Boulevard and Freeway Drive frontage roads.

The Alondra Boulevard Bridge Project is expected to be completed by mid-2015.

The Alondra Boulevard Bridge spans the 1-5 South Corridor in Santa Fe Springs. An estimated 220,000 vehicles travel this section daily.

The Alondra Boulevard Bridge spans the 1-5 South Corridor in Santa Fe Springs. An estimated 220,000 vehicles travel this section daily.

Highlights from the Westside Subway Extension's final environmental study

The Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report for the Westside Subway Extension was released this afternoon (news release here, report here). Here are some other highlights about the project from the report:

•As the map above and the chart below demonstrates, one big benefit of the Westside Subway Extension is that it will be near a lot of jobs. There are parts of the Westside nearly as job-rich as the downtown areas of other large cities. Note: the map shows options for the final alignment considered by Metro staff in Century City and Westwood.

•As this earlier post shows, the Subway Extension would speed up transit trips to and from Westwood. It is expected to take about 15 minutes for the subway to travel between the Westwood/VA station and the existing Wilshire/Western subway station.

•After the Metro Board of Directors approves of the FEIS/R and the study gets a “record of decision” from the Federal Transit Administration, the project can enter the final design phase, followed by construction. A groundbreaking in 2013 is possible.

•Two construction schedules are proposed by Metro staff in the FEIS/R. One would have the entire line open to the Westwood/VA station in 2022 — but that would first require an expansion of federal funding by Congress.

•The other construction schedule would follow Metro’s long-range plan and would complete the Westside Subway Extension in three phases — opening to La Cienega in 2020, Century City in 2026 and Westwood in 2036. It is 3.9 miles between the existing Wilshire and Western station and the future La Cienega station.

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Travel times to Westwood/UCLA using the Westside Subway Extension

 

If anyone really needs a good argument why the Westside Subway Extension should be built, I think this map showing transit travel times to the Westwood/UCLA station from other parts of L.A. County makes a pretty compelling case.

The nine-mile subway extension to Westwood would seriously improve the time it takes to get to and from Westwood from many areas across Los Angeles County. At rush hour, the subway would almost certainly be the quickest way into and out of the Westside.

The map is from the Westside Subway Extension’s Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report, which was released earlier today. Here’s the news release and here’s the link to the report.

Metro releases final environmental study for Westside Subway Extension

A map of the subway route recommended by Metro staff. Click above for a larger map.

It’s a big day for the Westside Subway Extension project. Studies for the project have been underway since 2007 and today the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report for the nine-mile extension of the subway to Westwood is being released as required by state and federal law.

The FEIS/R explains why the project is needed, shows where it will go and details how it will be built. The report also includes the Metro staff recommendations for a final route, including the exact location of the Century City and Westwood/UCLA and Westwood/VA stations — which had not been previously finalized.

In Century City, the station is proposed for Constellation and Avenue of the Stars. The Westwood/UCLA stop would be at Wilshire and Westwood boulevards and the Westwood/VA stop on the south side of Wilshire in the parking lot of the VA Hospital. The Metro Board of Directors is scheduled to consider approving the study — including the alignment and station locations — at their April 26th meeting.

If the project is built in three phases under Metro’s long-range plan, the estimated completion date of the first phase to La Cienega Boulevard is the year 2020. If federal funding is expanded by Congress and the project can be accelerated, the estimated date for building the entire subway to Westwood would be 2022.

Metro is also holding community open house meetings to help explain the document to the public. More details are in the following news release and I’ll post more on the new report soon:

Westside Subway Final EIR Release Press Release(Final)-2

Metro to hold public hearings on unmet transit needs for North L.A. County and city of Avalon

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will be holding a series of Transportation Development Act (TDA) Article 8 public hearings for the use of TDA Article 8 funds in the North County and the City of Avalon.

The TDA Article 8 funds are for those areas of Los Angeles County that do not have Metro service because they are located outside Metro’s service area. These areas include Antelope Valley (Palmdale & Lancaster), Santa Clarita Valley and Santa Catalina Island (City of Avalon). These hearings will determine TDA Article 8 budget funding allocation for FY2012-13 for the North County and Avalon.

This year the hearing board consists of Michael Cano, representing Supervisor Antonovich’s office, Palmdale Mayor James C. Ledford, Jason Crawford with the City of Santa Clarita and Julie Moore representing Supervisor Don Knabe’s office.

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Metro ridership sees gains in January and February

Here’s the news release:

Ridership 2012